of, pertaining to, or belonging to oneself or itself (usually used after a possessive to emphasize the idea of ownership, interest, or relation conveyed by the possessive): He spent only his own money.
(used as an intensifier to indicate oneself as the sole agent of some activity or action, preceded by a possessive): He insists on being his own doctor.
verb (used with object)
to have or hold as one's own; possess: They own several homes.
to acknowledge or admit: to own a fault.
to acknowledge as one's own; recognize as having full claim, authority, power, dominion, etc.: He owned his child before the entire assembly. They owned the king as their lord.
verb (used without object)
to confess (often followed by to, up, or up to ): The one who did it had better own up. I own to being uncertain about that.
come into one's own,
to take possession of that which is due or owed one.
to receive the recognition that one's abilities merit: She finally came into her own as a sculptor of the first magnitude.
get one's own back, to get revenge and thereby a sense of personal satisfaction, as for a slight or a previous setback; get even with somebody or something: He saw the award as a way of getting his own back for all the snubs by his colleagues.
hold one's own,
to maintain one's position or condition: The stock market seems to be holding its own these days.
to be equal to the opposition: He can hold his own in any fight.
of one's own, belonging to oneself: She had never had a room of her own.
on one's own,
by dint of one's own efforts, resources, or sense of responsibility; independently: Because she spoke the language, she got around the country very well on her own.
living or functioning without dependence on others; independent: My son's been on his own for several years.

before 900; (adj.) Middle English owen, Old English āgen (cognate with German eigen, Old Norse eigenn), orig. past participle of āgan to possess (see owe); (v.) Middle English ownen, Old English āgnian, āhnian, derivative of āgen

nonowning, adjective
unowned, adjective

3. See have.

3. lack, need.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
own (əʊn)
1.  a.  (intensifier): John's own idea; your own mother
 b.  (as pronoun): I'll use my own
2.  on behalf of oneself or in relation to oneself: he is his own worst enemy
3.  come into one's own
 a.  to become fulfilled: she really came into her own when she got divorced
 b.  to receive what is due to one
4.  informal get one's own back to have revenge
5.  hold one's own to maintain one's situation or position, esp in spite of opposition or difficulty
6.  on one's own
 a.  without help
 b.  by oneself; alone
vb (when intr, often foll by up, to, or up to)
7.  (tr) to have as one's possession
8.  to confess or admit; acknowledge
9.  rare (tr; takes a clause as object) to concede: I own that you are right
[Old English āgen, originally past participle of āgan to have; related to Old Saxon ēgan, Old Norse eiginn. See owe]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. agen "one's own," lit. "possessed by," from P.Gmc. *aigana- "possessed, owned" (cf. O.S. egan, O.Fris. egin, O.N. eiginn, Du. eigen, Ger. eigen "own"), from pp. of PIE *aik- "to be master of, possess," source of O.E. agan "to have" (see owe).

evolved in early M.E. from O.E. geagnian, from root agan "to have, to own" (see own), and in part from own (adj.) (q.v.). It became obsolete after c.1300, but was revived early 17c., in part as a back-formation of owner (mid-14c.), which continued. To own up "make full confession" is from 1853.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with own, also see afraid of one's own shadow; after one's own heart; beat someone at his or her own game; blow one's own horn; call one's own; close to home; come into (one's own); dig one's own grave; do one's (own) thing; dose of one's own medicine; get (one's own) back; get one's (own) way; go one's (own) way; hold one's own; in one's (own) interest; in one's own backyard; in one's own right; in one's own world; keep one's own counsel; know one's own mind; leave to someone's own devices; mind of one's own; mind one's own business; of one's own accord; on one's (own) feet; on one's own; on one's own account; on one's own time; paddle one's own canoe; pay back in one's own coin; pay one's (own) way; pick on (someone your own size); pull one's (own) weight; sign one's own death warrant; stew in one's own juice; take into one's (own) hands; under one's own steam; write one's own ticket.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
OF all the ways people experience themselves, perhaps none is so primal as the
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For many students and their families, scraping together the money to pay for
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Get your own copy of this recently conserved treasure.
Create your own outdoor fort with our step-by-step instructions for making your
  own backyard tipi.
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